Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fuel Cell Membrane Materials Offer Solution For Removing Salt From Water

Date:
September 14, 2006
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Researchers at Virginia Tech have created a new polymer membrane for reverse osmosis that will not be degraded by chlorine.

Virginia Tech researchers have created a foam-like membrane for separating salt from water. The new membrane will not be degraded by chlorine.
Credit: James McGrath

The problem of separating salt from water has long been solved by forcing the water through a polyamide membrane in a process called reverse osmosis (RO). However, the water can't be disinfected with chlorine because it degrades polyamid material. Now, researchers at Virginia Tech have created a new polymer membrane for RO that will not be degraded by chlorine.

They will present the research at the 232nd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society on September 10-14 in San Francisco.

"Our RO materials grew out of our work on proton exchange membrane (PEM) materials used in fuel cells," said James McGrath, University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Virginia Tech. "The polymer structure is similar, but PEM materials are treated with a dilute acid and the RO materials are treated with a salt to put them in the neutral form."

Last year, McGrath's group received funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to develop an RO material that would not break down from chlorine. "We have suggested for some time that PEM materials could be used so our students quickly began sending sample materials for testing to Benny D. Freeman, chemical engineer at the University of Texas, Austin. And within a year we had a successful material. "People have been doing RO for 40 years, but not with this new material," McGrath said.

Post doctoral Associate Zhong-Biao Zhang will deliver a paper on how the new materials are made and how they work at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, in Salon B3 of the Marriott. Authors of "Synthesis of di-sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) random copolymers as novel candidates for chlorine-resistant reverse osmosis membranes (PMSE 494)" are Zhang, Virginia Tech graduate students Guang-Yu Fan and Mehmet Sankir, Ho Bum Park and Freeman at the University of Texas, and McGrath.

The ONR has expanded the project to add Don Baird, professor of chemical engineering at Virginia Tech, to fabricate the membrane. "The material we created and evaluated in the first year was relatively thick," McGrath said. "To be competitive, it has to be a thin film so the water can pass through quickly -- 10 to 100 times thinner than our present samples. That is not trivial but we think we know how to do it."

The Virginia Tech research group has created an asymmetric membrane. Imagine rigid foam with a thin membrane skin. The separation takes place at the skin and the water passes quickly through the foam's large pores. Without the foam, the skin or film layer is not strong enough to withstand the pressure of RO.

McGrath is now looking for companies to work with to produce the new material.

He is also working on a different process to separate ethanol from water. "We think we can make membranes to do that too," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Fuel Cell Membrane Materials Offer Solution For Removing Salt From Water." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914153431.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2006, September 14). Fuel Cell Membrane Materials Offer Solution For Removing Salt From Water. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914153431.htm
Virginia Tech. "Fuel Cell Membrane Materials Offer Solution For Removing Salt From Water." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914153431.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins